There was a time when Igboland- and indeed the former Eastern Nigeria also known as Biafra- was seen as a region uncontaminated by Islam. Ojukwu expressed this unique position of Igboland as a cordon sanitaire against the Islamic threat in the Ahiara Declaration. “The Biafran struggle,” he proclaimed, “is, on a similar plane, a resistance to the Arab expansionism, which has menaced and ravaged the African continent for twelve centuries.” Describing Biafra as “a non-Muslim island in a raging Islamic sea,” he revealed the secret plot of northern Nigerian Moslems: “Throughout the ill-fated Nigerian experiment,” he said, “the Muslims hoped to infiltrate Biafra by peaceful means and quiet propaganda, but failed. Then the late Ahmadu Bello, the Sarduana of Sokoto tried, by political and economic blackmail and terrorism, to convert Biafrans settled in Northern Nigeria to Islam. His hope was that these Biafrans of dispersion would then carry Islam to Biafra, and by so doing give the religion political control of the area.”
Ojukwu whipped sentiment in Ahiara Declaration as can be seen clearly in this analysis. The Biafran struggle that led to this declaration was between Ojukwu (Christian) and Yakubu Gowon (Christian). COULD GOWON PLOT TO CARRY ISLAM TO BIAFRA? Other major gladiators on the side of Federal Government include Obafemi Awolowo as Vice Chairman (Christian), Generals Benjamin Adekunle (Black Scorpio), Alani Akinrinade, Alabi Isama, Isaac Adaka Boro, Theophilus Danjuma, Olusegun Obasanjo. COULD ALL THESE CHRISTIAN GLADIATORS PLOT TO CARRY ISLAM TO IGBOLAND?
Again, Ojukwu claimed that Ahmadu Bello tried by political and economic blackmail and terrorism to convert Biafrans to Islam. The reasonable and logical question is: Why did NCNC’s Nnamdi Azikwe, Micheal Okpara, Nwafor Orizu, Chief Nweke, Profs Kenneth Dike and Eni Njoku et.al TEAMED UP WITH NORTHERN NPC OF AHMADU BELLO AND TAFAWA BALEWA TO FORM FIRST REPUBLIC GOVERNMENT? The same “ISLAMOPHOBIC” warlord, Odumegwu Ojukwu, befriended an Hausa Woman that gave birth to his oldest daughter (Tenny Hamman) that was entitled to his inheritance.
Revered as an epic hero, Ojukwu’s return from exile in 1982 was wildly celebrated by the Igbo people. But he disappointed them when he refused to join the Nigerian Peoples Party largely dominated by the Igbo (who are Christians). He rather pitched his tent with the northern-dominated National Party of Nigeria (who are Muslims), because as he explained, he wanted to draw the Igbo into the mainstream of Nigerian politics. Was he also charmed into “Jihadist Party” to carry Islam to Igboland?
This type of Ojukwu’s propaganda worked hard against the religious freedom of the Igbo Muslims as well as the spread of Islam. The psychological tremor suffered by the Igbo Muslims before and during the civil war 1967-1969 was another setback for the growth of Islam in the area.
During that time, Igbo Muslims were considered as traitors and collaborators of the enemies of the fetus Biafra, for that they were persecuted, mercilessly killed in the public, some were taken away and lost forever, some were forcibly converted to Christianity. The farms homes and Mosques of the Igbo Muslims were destroyed and their properties were looted and confiscated.
Corroborating this fallacy of hasty generalization, the legendary literary “Eagle on Iroko Tree”, Albert Chinualumogu Achebe stated explicitly in ”There was a Country - A Personal Narrative of Biafra.” that “Throughout the conflict, the Biafran consistently charged that the Nigerians had a design to exterminate the Igbo people from the face of the earth. This calculation, the Biafrans insisted, was predicated on a HOLY JIHAD proclaimed by mainly ISLAMIC EXTREMISTS in the Nigerian Army and supported by policies of economic blockade that prevented shipments of humanitarian aid, food and supplies to the needy in Biafra. THE WARTIME CABINET OF General Gowon, the military ruler, it should also be remembered, was full of intellectuals, like Chief Obafemi Awolowo, among others…..”. This type of statement (among others) incensed Achebe’s fellow Igbo man and a Psychologist, Dr. Ozodi Thomas Osuji, whose response appeared in the Nigerian Village Square of 15 October 2008 under the title, “FALSE SENSE OF VICTIMIZATION IN ACHEBE’S WORLDVIEW.” . Thus Dr Osuji declared that Achebe’s assertion is fiction without fact and devoid of reality since all the major actors on Federal Government sides are Christians. Probably, Achebe should have substituted “Holy Jihad” with “Crusades”.
Obviously, Ike Mbachu inherited this type of sub-conscious, unconscious and genetically-induced Islamophobia for him to declare that “Islam is a violent religion!!!”. My sincere question is: How long would Ike engage in this intellectual dishonesty to his own conscience? Only time will tell Mbachu that “Conscience is a physical illness, only truth can heal it”
Above all, it is stated convincingly in Quran 61:8 as admonitions to Ike and others that reject the light of Islam that “They seek to extinguish Allah´s light (by blowing) with their mouths, but Allah shall spread His light in all its fullness, howsoever the unbelievers may abhor this.”
Ojukwu, Odumegwu (1969), “Ahiara Declaration”, in Kirk-Greene, A.H.M (1971), Crisis and Conflict in Nigeria: A Documentary Sourcebook 1966-1970, London: Oxford University Press, Vol. II, pp.376-393.
Parrinder, E.G. (1974), African Traditional Religion, London: Sheldon Press.